Our Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls basketball team was in the game, halfway through its post-season matchup with New London-Spicer. We trailed by five points, 25-30.
Might the Tigers be able to roar in the second half? No, it was the big cats of NL-Spicer, the "Wildcats," showing that roar as they came on strong as is so typical of that Mike Dreier-coached program. I haven't seen coach Dreier in years. I remember when Rick Lucken thought the venerable coach might be wearing a hairpiece. Rick joked about sneaking past him from behind and testing the theory.
Whatever the hair reality, Dreier's Wildcats have become a legendary force in Central Minnesota girls basketball. Someday maybe a statue should be erected of him. On the final day of February this year, those Wildcats turned on the jets in second half play, causing our Tigers to fade and to fall in the 62-47 final.
We end the season dead at .500 with 13-13 won-lost numbers. It was not a reflection of how our volleyball team did last fall.
Our hoopsters faced those Wildcats in the Section 3AA-North semis. Fans of both teams had to haul their rear ends to Granite Falls of all places. Our boys team had to do likewise. Strange. I can't fathom why this was necessary. In any case, the NL-Spicer fans had ample reason to show vocal acclamation in the second half. Their Wildcats outscored the Tigers 32-22 in the half.
Shea Oman was a very important player for the victor. Shea scored a team-best 19 points, making three 3-pointers as part of that output. She's a sophomore guard. Alyssa Fredrick also put in three 3's.
Megan Thorson contributed 14 points to the Wildcats' cause, and Morgan Swenson had ten. Fredrick's point output was nine. Kabrie Weber scored six points, while Erin Tebben and Lindsay Vagle each scored two. Thorson grabbed nine rebounds and Tebben had seven. Fredrick and Brooke Beuning each had four assists. Oman stole the ball three times.
For the Tigers, Becca Holland and Correy Hickman each made three 3-pointers. Ashley Solvie was our top point-scorer with 21. Holland finished with eleven points, Hickman with seven and Moira McNally with six. Riley Decker added two points to the mix.
Those rolling Wildcats will play Montevideo at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 4) in the sub-section final. Again the destination, oddly, will be YME - those desolate environs.
Coach Dreier in comments to the media complimented the Tigers on "limiting the flexibility" of his Wildcats. "They shut a bunch of our sets down," Dreier said, "and there were times we couldn't do much."
That's very polite and magnanimous, coach Dreier, but your team ended up winning rather handily. You must have been able to do something.
Neither of our MACA basketball teams distinguished themselves in the post-season. This has been a rather long-running scenario. Our boys team in particular has been disappointing. March is the time of year when fans are really supposed to get their adrenalin pumping for high school sports. Instead it has seemed rather anticlimactic for us.
How much does the public care? I really don't know, I really don't. And look at the hockey program. If I understand what's being reported by the local media, we have a rather small boys roster, with half the kids theoretically from Benson, and there were just two wins, and nine kids are graduating? Should we anticipate the dissolution of the program? Should the Lee Center just become part of the Stevens County fairgrounds? I'm not sure I would have contributed a thousand bucks to that, if I had known hockey would unravel as a sport here.
We once had our own MAHS Tiger hockey teams. Well, that didn't last. We paired with Benson, a move leaving me feeling rather flabbergasted. A "Morris/Benson" team?
I bumped into a long-time hockey promoter at McDonald's last week, and he indicated that the current downtown might not be temporary. He observed that the cost of hockey is a factor. OK that may be true. But if it is, why can't we come up with resources on a community basis, helping make hockey a more feasible sport for parents by defraying some of the costs? Can't the community as a whole help make these youth programs thrive?
Are we all Republicans? Do we all feel we have to "pay our own way" for everything? Are we that anti-collectivist?
Is there one grade in MAHACA wrestling that will have just one kid out for the sport next year? Sports seems somewhat less than a shining star in Stevens County now. Disagree? Contact me.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org